Alcoa says new aluminum building coating fights smog

Mon May 9, 2011 3:07pm EDT

* Alcoa says titanium dioxide coating fights smog

* Plans to hit market by June

* DuPont, Huntsman, Tronox among large global Ti02 makers

NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) - Alcoa Inc (AA.N) said it will start selling an aluminum building panel that removes smog from the air using a chemical commonly found in automobile paint.

Using a proprietary process developed with Japan's Toto (5332.T), Alcoa said it turns fine grounds of titanium dioxide into a clear paste then applies it the surface of aluminum.

The titanium dioxide interacts with sunlight and breaks pollution in the surrounding air into carbon dioxide particles that are washed away by rainwater, Alcoa said.

The panel is being tested currently and will hit the market by June, Alcoa said. The product could eventually dominate the European and North American aluminum construction market, which is roughly 2.5 billion square feet per year, Alcoa said.

Titanium dioxide is a white pigment used as the building block for most paints. It keeps paint bonded to a surface and is commonly found on automobiles.

DuPont (DD.N), Huntsman (HUN.N) and Tronox TROX.PK are among the world's largest producers. Alcoa declined to say where it is getting its titanium dioxide.

The Pittsburgh-based company also said it is researching how its technology could be used on cars to fight smog. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder, editing by Dave Zimmerman)